Twitter-itis: Is Social Media Making Us Sick?

Twitteritis-Is Social Media Making Us SickCould you live without Social Media?  How many hours a day do you spend looking at news feeds and pictures?  What is the result of a life of constant entertainment, connectivity, and distraction?  What is the condition of the soul dulled with a steady input of mindless screen-watching?

I began to ask these questions after noticing some undesirable patterns in my use of social media last year. My days were bookended with checking news feeds; my phone was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing at night. The urge to keep scrolling and scrolling echoed the feeling of trying to pull myself away from a bag of chips yet hopelessly saying, “Just one more” til the bag is gone. I remember thinking, “This is not how I want to live. Only halfway living my life while spending the other half passively connected to an online world.”

Out of desperation to regain balance and soul health, I spent nearly 6 months of last year completely free of all social media. No instagram.  No twitter.  No facebook. And very limited Pinterest use. YES, I did survive! Not only that, I began to see 6 harmful effects of unrestrained and aimless social media use. Continue reading

A God Worth Waiting For

A God Worth Waiting For.jpg

It’s Monday morning and you walk out the door at 6:30am to head across town for an important meeting you have at 7:00am. All is going as expected until you turn the corner to see you left the headlights on all night. Your fears are confirmed as you turn the key in the ignition to no avail.

Two choices emerge in your mind. There is a city bus stop 1/2 mile from your apartment that can get you there. You’d probably be late, but it’s definitely a possibility. Then there is your friend who lives about 5 minutes away but is known for her ability to turn every 5 minute task into half an hour. You call in the favor and she says she just needs to get dressed and will be there shortly.

By now it’s 6:40am. Do you begin the half mile treck to the bus stop or wait for your friend who continues to claim that she will be there soon? Whether on your driveway or at the bus stop, your choice will reveal what you deem as most reliable to fulfill your need of getting to your meeting. We wait on what we believe to be reliable.

There’s a reason no one is standing in line at an empty register at Walmart, hoping for a cashier to magically appear. There’s a reason no one is sitting at a Chick-fil-a drive thru on Sunday afternoon waiting to place their order. No one is coming. Waiting is pointless. We only wait on what we believe to be reliable.

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Blog Update: Bible Studies Added

Hello friends and followers!

If you haven’t heard, I recently added a new page to my blog called “Bible Studies.” Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to write a few Bible studies and devotionals for high schoolers and adults. I am beginning to post some of these on this page for you to download and print off. Feel free to share these with others or use them to lead others if you already teach a Bible study. I hope these can be helpful to you.

I wanted to point out one in particular to you called “Intimacy with God.” I have often been asked about what it takes to cultivate true intimacy with God beyond just daily religious activities. I created a 3 day devotional in response to this common inquiry because I feel it is so vital to have a living, moving, active relationship with God that is tangible and felt. This devotional goes through 3 basic approaches that I operate in on a daily basis that bring me into real intimacy with God.

Here is a preview of this devotional. You can download the entire thing on the Bible Studies page.

Say that I decided to sit with you at lunch every day because I wanted to get to know you more. I immediately start giving you an in depth account of my day so far. I talk through the entire lunchtime and as soon as the bell rings, I jump up and say, “Great talking to you! See you tomorrow!” and leave. I begin to do the same thing every day. Do you think I will really get to know who you are? Of course not! I need to hear from you to get to know you.

In the same way, we need to practice listening to God through our day, and not just talking to Him all the time. But how do you actually do that? Let me share a story with you that I think will help:

There was a guy named Tim who went to high school with me. We weren’t friends or even acquaintances. I simply knew what he looked like. I never really saw him at school; once in a while I’d see him in line in the cafeteria or in the hallway. Then one year, I had a class with him and got to know him a little better. Within a few months, I had developed a full-blown crush on him. I thought about him all the time, and looked for him everywhere I went. All of the sudden, I saw him all the time! In the hallways, after school in the parking lot, and at lunch. I soon learned where his locker was, who his friends were and knew which halls he took to get to third period.

I’m sure many of you have experienced this same phenomenon before. It wasn’t that Tim wasn’t around before. He was always there. I was just too caught up in my own conversations to notice him. He was really still a stranger to me so when he passed by, I didn’t notice. But once I had a crush on him, I began to look for him. I always had my eye out for him. Through every conversation with friends, my eyes would be darting around the hallway just to catch a glimpse of him.

In the same way, God is all around us, trying to speak to us. But so often, we rarely hear because we are too caught up in our day-to-day activities. We aren’t looking for Him and listening to Him. But when we begin looking for Him and keeping our eye out for Him, He shows up all over the place! We need to be excited and expect Him to show up and speak to us, just like I was always expecting Tim to come around the corner.

An Unexpected Struggle Against Pride

Well it’s been 4 months since my last blog post! And as I expected, God had a lot to teach me in this hiatus from writing and none of it has been what I expected. For those of you who have prayed for me and sent encouraging messages: Thank you!!


Just before this break from writing, I had been asking God to grant me humility. I am very aware of my struggle with pride and I feel that it is a stronghold in my life. Pride is very subtle and can take many different forms that we can’t see right away, so I felt very helpless in the battle against this sin and had been regularly asking for God to bring a new level of liberation from it. It was soon after I began praying for this that I began to sense I needed to take a break from writing.


As I mentioned in my last post, I also felt that this season would be full of temptation as well. And sure enough it was. There were numerous occasions where I was presented with a clear choice to walk in the Spirit or walk in the flesh. For example, there had been a miscommunication between Jimmy and I and it genuinely inconvenienced me. But I knew it was a complete accident and unintentional. He had been so sweet throughout our conversation about it and was headed home. I remember hanging up the phone and thinking, “I can respond in grace to my husband and be forgiving or respond in entitlement to what I feel like I deserve.” And without feeling like I could do any differently, I chose the way of entitlement.

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Becoming a Jesus-Follower: My Testimony

My first encounter with God was in a pew at church when I was 8 years old. Every sunday, our pastor would end the service by inviting people to come to the front of the sanctuary to pray to receive salvation. And inevitably, every sunday I would tell myself I was going to go down to the front. I didn’t know what salvation meant or what would happen when I got there, I just knew that I needed to go down. I needed something that they were offering down there, whatever it was. But even as an 8 year old, I was afraid of what people, including my parents, would think. After much debating within myself, I never went.

A couple years later I found myself at our church’s “Preteen Camp.” As I began to meet other church kids, I started to learn the “spiritual language” better. I realized that the cool thing to do was to “get saved.” And one “got saved” by walking down the aisle at the end of the service and praying a prayer with a counselor. (The prayer only worked if you cried while you prayed it though.) So naturally, I decided I would get saved while I was at preteen camp. My new bunkmate Allison was going to get saved too since we were the only ones in our cabin who weren’t saved yet.

That night, we walked down the aisle as planned and found ourselves sitting with a camp counselor. Everything was going smoothly until we started praying. I couldn’t get myself to cry! I began thinking about my dog dying and other sad things to try and muster up a few tears without much luck. But I was reassured by my counselor that now I was saved and I should call my parents to share the good news! I was a different person now, she assured me. Funny, I didn’t feel any different.
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The Influence of a Woman

Before I get into my topic for today, I wanted to give you a brief update on my blog.  Because I think it is incredibly important to be purposeful in everything you do, I recently wrote about the purpose of my writing and this blog.  You can check it out here: “No Apologies.”  In that post I had asked for any topic suggestions or questions that you had for me.  After reading through the responses I received, I’ve decided to write about some of those things in the coming weeks.  Here are some posts to be on the look out for:

  • Becoming a Jesus-Follower: My testimony
  • A Day in the Life: My life being married to a recording artist
  • The Sabbath: The forgotten command
  • Sharing Your Faith: How to live a lifestyle of evangelism
  • How to Encourage Others Effectively
  • Dating & Marriage: The purpose of romance in the believer’s life
For today however, I wanted to write about the powerful influence of a woman.  I am currently reading through 2 Chronicles and am greatly enjoying it!  I have learned so much through studying the history of the Israelite people in Kings and Chronicles and strongly encourage you to read straight through these books if you never have. (This is actually my first time to read straight through them!)

 

Chapter 21 describes the reign of King Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, grandson of Asa.  Jehoshaphat, though not perfect in his reign, was known for how he sought after the Lord.  He was humble and trusted in God in moments of adversity.  And Asa, his grandfather was also a man who sought after the Lord and trusted God in hard times.  With such a rich spiritual heritage, I expected Jehoram to follow in their footsteps.  But to my surprise, this chapter starts out with Jehoram killing all his brothers as soon as he became king.  It doesn’t even give a reason why he did this.  He also led the people of Judah astray by enticing them to worship other gods (v. 11).  So what happened to Jehoram?  How did a guy with such a great start to life turn out so bad?

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List-focused vs Jesus-focused

Thanks to those of you who have already responded to my last post, Back to the Basics. This is a response to one of the comments on that blog. Someone asked “How exactly do you intend to shift your focus from your to do list to Jesus? What do you intend to do differently?” Thanks for responding and that is a great question!

I first want to mention that I don’t think to-do lists are bad in and of themselves. I think writing out a list of things that need to get done is a helpful tool and very useful. I don’t think I will ever stop doing that as a way to stay organized and on task. But like any good thing can, my to-do lists often take the place of Jesus in my life.

It sounds funny to think I could make a to-do list an idol in my life, but it happens regularly. Here are some lyrics from the song “Clear the Stage” by a friend of ours, Ross King:

Anything I put before my God is an idol.
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.
Anything that I give all my love is an idol.
We must not worship something that’s not even worth it.
Clear the stage and make some space for the one who deserves it.



(Wow do I love that song!) “Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol…” Often that is all I am thinking about in a day: what’s next on my to do list. How can I get more done? When is Lively going to sleep so I can get things 2,3, and 5 done on my list. I will choose to be productive rather than sit with God. And I often long to get everything done way more than I long to get to know God more. Unfortunately, all these things point to my list being an idol in my life.
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Lessons in Sleeplessness

Teething + stuffy nose + out of town = one very unhappy baby


This is the equation that plagued me last week. Our poor little girl had her first cold and boy was it rough! For about 5 nights in a row, I was up almost every hour trying to get her back to sleep because she couldn’t breathe. The frustration followed into the next day because our sick baby was now a tired, sick baby. Then top that off with constant pain from teething and the fact that we are not at home with all her regular toys and Baby Einstein DVDs…. And wow. I felt like I was just trying to make it through one hour at a time.

It’s amazing what a lack of sleep over multiple days does to you. I had checked-out emotionally and spiritually. Discouragement began to set in as I wondered if this was ever going to end. As I drove around Nashville waiting to pick Jimmy up from a writing appointment, I noticed this license plate in front of me. It read: 2COR610. An acute awareness of God’s sovereignty causes me to take these “coincidences” very personally as if God were sending me a message to read 2 Corinthians 6:10. Though it didn’t mean much to me as I quickly glanced at it in my car, I decided it was worth a more in depth look later.

Thankfully, Lively soon fell asleep in the car seat as I drove giving me a precious hour and a half of time to myself. I found a coffee shop and claimed the small nook in the back as my own to sit with this chapter of the Bible and a much needed cup of caffeine… I mean coffee. I began reading from earlier in the chapter: “But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger…” Wait a second!! “in sleeplessness” Those words were balm to my soul. The moment I read them my eyes filled with tears as God’s Word ministered to my soul. In just a split second God spoke so many things to my heart.

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